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Dougie’s Monday maibag

06
Apr

PBC ON CBS

Hi Doug. How did you like this CBS version of PBC? Here are my thoughts… Broadcasting team was great. Way better than NBC counter parts. I’m sure they get a good input from Showtime people since they are in the same group.

Paulie Malignaggi is always good but Virgil Hunter surprised me. He talks very well and his style (technical analysis in very calm manner) meshes really well with Paulie’s style (also technical but in fighters perspective but he’s more passionate/enthusiastic). Even blow by blow guy was pretty decent. They sounded like they have been doing it for a long time together.

Adonis Stevenson… He never impressed me and this time was no exception. Like Paulie said he’s a one-armed bandit with very little boxing IQ. Why do I say that? Because he did same thing over and over 12 rounds against a guy who was tough but even less talented, came up in weight but never really been able to take him out. He’s very basic, actually.



If he ever fights Sergey Kovalev, he’s gonna get knocked out silly. Kovalev can adjust himself very well during the fight like he demonstrated in Jean Pascal fight, is a good combination puncher who can put punches together, has power in both hands and he knows distance very well like he did against Bernard Hopkins. Oh by the way, just met Shawn Porter at the local grocery store this morning. Didn’t know that he lives in Vegas now. He was a real nice guy as I thought he was and we chatted for few minutes. That was pretty cool.

Anyway, keep up the good work! – Naoki, Las Vegas, NV

I’ll try, Naoki. I’m glad you got a chance to meet Porter. Pound-for-pound, he and his father/trainer Kenny are the nicest, most-down-to-earth people in boxing. That’s no exaggeration. They make me proud to have grown up in Ohio and to be a part of the boxing industry.

In 2013, when Stevenson won THE RING/WBC titles and Kovalev annexed the WBO belt, I thought their potential showdown was a toss-up matchup. By the end of 2014, I slightly favored Kovalev. Now, like most fans, I consider The Krusher to be a solid favorite. However, I still want to see the fight. I think Stevenson’s punching power and attitude would make it compelling for however long it would last.

I wasn’t impressed with Stevenson, either. I viewed Bika as a shopworn veteran whose best days were long gone. Anyone who goes life and death with Marco Antonio Periban for 12 rounds at 168 pounds has no business getting a shot at the lineal 175-pound championship, right? If Stevenson was really “the man” at light heavyweight, as he claims, he would’ve squashed The Scorpion.

As for “Superman’s” skills, I don’t want to say that he’s got “very little boxing IQ” (I think you’re putting words in Malignaggi’s mouth to an extent), but I agree with Paulie that Stevenson (like his fellow Haitian-Canadian, Pascal) is a one-armed bandit with a few wrinkles. His offense is primarily that big left hand, and he’s got decent lateral movement, body punching and an underused/partial right hook to go with it. That’s about it. He’s not slick, creative or much of a combination puncher. But I do think he’s got heart.

I thought the commentary and overall broadcast production/presentation of PBC on CBS was very good. I agree that the commentators sounded like they’ve worked together before, and the combination of Malignaggi and Hunter made for a very educational viewing experience. I thought Hunter was a bit too technical in his analysis and over-critical at times (although I’m sure that’s the kind of commentary he was hired to provide). There were more than a few overlapping observations between Paulie and Virgil, but that happens with most sports broadcasts, and like you noted there was a lot of insight to go with it. I think it was one of Malignaggi’s best broadcasts.

The only real criticism I had with the show – apart from the obvious mismatches and gross one-sided nature of the two fights (I thought the scorecards for Stevenson-Bika should have been much wider in favor of the champ) – was no mention of “the Russian elephant in the room” at any point during the broadcast.

 

KOVALEV SPELLS ‘CANDYMAN’ FOR STEVENSON, HAYMON

Dougie,

They won’t even say his name three times because they’re afraid he might appear and challenge A-DONT-is to a fight.

Seriously, When Al Haymon and Stevenson have sleepovers, they tell each other Sergey Kovalev stories. And after Stevenson’s performance Saturday, I can see why. The fact that Adonis Stevenson, the supposed “Man” at 175, had to struggle that hard against a past his prime, limited, not even a natural LHW like Sakio Bika tells me that he doesn’t even deserve to share a sentence with Sergey Kovalev, much less a ring.

And I don’t think it will happen. What probably will happen is, once Stevenson polishes off another undeserving challenger, Haymon is going to feed him to Beterbiev, and then Haymon will set up THAT fight with Kovalev. Does that sound right to you? Or am I being too cynical? – Sean

You’re being cynical, but I can’t blame you. No mention at all of Kovalev during Saturday’s broadcasts suggests that Haymon intends to keep Stevenson inside his boxing league (and keep the PBC universe separate from the HBO/”independent promoters” universes).

However, after Kovalev’s stoppage of Pascal, I wrote that I’d give Stevenson the benefit of the doubt. He had this showcase match with Bika scheduled and I knew Kovalev had his IBF mandatory against Nadjib Mohammedi to take care of. So, once Kovalev takes care of business against Mohammedi (who is no scrub), then we’ll see if Stevenson was serious when he told B-Hop that he wanted to unify all of the major 175-pound titles.

If there’s no mention of The Russian Elephant in the light heavyweight room after Kovalev-Mohammedi, I’ll assume that Haymon has other plans for Stevenson. Would those plans involve Beterbiev? Maybe. But not right away. I think Stevenson vs. Lucian Bute (who Haymon recently signed) would come first. That’s a bigger event in Canada (right now) and the former 168-pound titleholder presents less of a risk than Beterbiev (who could become Kovalev 2.0, and thus added to Stevenson’s “Avoid List.”)

 

ADONIS IS NO SUPERMAN

Hi Dougie,

It was great to watch boxing return not only to NBC but CBS as well. Now boxing fans will finally get to watch good match ups instead of viewing HBO’s boring fight cards. At least Showtime made huge progress in bringing us the Super 6 and putting competitive matches together over the past 4 years that made for some great fights. Plus their analysis of the fights are less judgemental than the drubbing losing fighters receive from the likes of Jim Lampley, Larry Merchant, and Max Kellerman. These guys have never stepped into a ring and really don’t know what it’s like and they still spew out condemnation left and right. Then they complain when a fight is too boring! Go figure. I’m so sick of these guys. The only HBO commentators that take a truly unbiased view are the fighters themselves, like Roy Jones, Andre Ward, and recently, Bernard Hopkins.

Now boxing is revived from the back row seat it took over the last twenty years where pay-per-view rules the day and can once again reach a wider audience. It’s a real shot in the arm for boxing and non-boxing fans. World-class fighters meeting on network T.V.! Great strides are being made. People truly are tired of the same old baseball, basketball, and football year in year out. Boxing is back!

Now for this weekend. The Adonis Stevenson/Sakio Bika fight proved to be a lot more exciting than I expected. I was surprised Superman Adonis took this dangerous fight. You know Bika’s been in with the best mostly in losing efforts but always finds a way to make the fights competitive. This fight was no different. I gave Bika the last two rounds and wasn’t surprised when he recovered from that hellacious knockdown to come back and land some furious right hands that hurt Superman. Bika lost the fight only because he didn’t press sooner in my opinion.

What we now know is Adonis “Superman” Stevenson is no match for Sergei Kovalev. I believe Kovalev will knock him out within 8 rounds. He proved in his fight against Pascal what a great chin he has to go with his excellent boxing skills and insane power. I’m totally stoked about the upcoming fights as well on NBC and CBS. Should be exciting.

Keep the great work. Regards. – Erik

Thanks Erik. I’m glad you’re as excited about the PBC on NBC and CBS as you are. I was wondering what type of fans – apart from the junkies and casuals – the organizers of the new league were hoping to attract with the chosen broadcast formats, and I think you are indicative of that viewer. You follow the sport closer than a casual fan but you’re not quite a hardcore case. You’re someone who has watched HBO and Showtime over the years, and has become tired of the way boxing was presented on the subscription cable networks (especially HBO it seems).

A few comments on your comments:

I’d favor Kovalev to beat Stevenson, too (who doesn’t at this point?). Can Krusher get him out of there within eight rounds? I don’t know, but I’d like to find out.

I didn’t find Stevenson-Bika to be all that exciting (or competitive). Maybe I’m just a jaded writer/fan for thinking that, but I didn’t have many expectations and I wasn’t surprised much by what ensued (except for maybe Stevenson’s inability to stop Bika and the relatively close scorecards). I wasn’t surprised that Stevenson faced Bika and I didn’t view the former super middleweight beltholder as “a dangerous fight” for the lineal 175-pound champ. I think Bika has looked ordinary since dropping a one-sided decision to Andre Ward in November 2010.

I think world-class fighters “meeting” on network TV is obviously a boon to the sport, but I won’t agree that “great strides are being made” until those “meetings” produce competitive and entertaining fights (and I’m talking about much better action and drama than Stevenson-Bika, Berto-Lopez or Thurman-Guerrero provided us). Perhaps I’ll get what I’m looking for with Garcia-Peterson and Lee-Quillin on Saturday.

I’m not quite sure what to make of your HBO rant. I may have agreed with some of what you said about the premium cable giant six or seven years ago (although I thought the commentators did a lot more cheerleading than “loser drubbing”). Merchant was the only HBO commentator that used to get a bit harsh in his criticism, but you are aware that the hall of famer hasn’t been a part of HBO’s “World Championship Boxing” or “Boxing After Dark” broadcasts since December 2012, right? Also the Showtime praise seemed a bit out of place given the network’s dismal 2014. You are aware that the Super Six tournament took place from 2009-2011, right?

 

STEVENSON AND THE RING TITLE

Hi Dougie,

Hope things are going well. I have a couple questions I thought you may be able to answer for me.

I was wondering if discussions have began about stripping Adonis Stevenson of his Ring belt? He has had 5 fights since winning the title from Chad Dawson in June 2013, none of which were top-5 light heavyweights. And judging by the post-fight commentary it does not seem like a top-5 fighter is in the plans for Stevenson anytime soon, I heard rumors that he may be looking to face Craig Barker next…

Ring Policy states that the Champion will lose his belt if “The Champion does not schedule a fight with a Top-5 contender from any weight class for two years” and we are about 60 days out.

Has Ring magazine ever had to strip an active Champion for failure to fight top competition? If he is stripped who do you see fighting for the vacant spot? Pascal vs. Kovalev II? Is this the fault of Haymon and the PBC? Should we expect to see more PBC fighters stripped of their belts, Ring or otherwise?

Keep up the great work. – Matt

I think you’ll wintess PBC fighters abdicate their major belts (as Quillin did last year; and Garcia is expected to following the Peterson fight) before you see them being stripped of them, but time will tell. Is it Haymon’s fault if this happens? No, I don’t think so. I think the fighter is ultimately responsible for his career. A fighter’s management/promotional company is supposed to work for him. If he wants a certain fight they should do their damnedest to get it done, or at least not stand in the way of the matchup – especially significant fights/mandatory title bouts. If he wants to keep his belt(s), he’ll do what is required of him to keep them.

Has THE RING ever stripped an active RING champ? Yes, it happened recently to Andre Ward, who hadn’t faced a top-5 contender since stopping Dawson in September of 2012.

THE RING’s Ratings Panel has not begun to discuss stripping Stevenson. Tavoris Cloud was a top-five RING-rated light heavyweight when Stevenson stopped the former IBF titleholder in September 2013. So he’s got five months to work with. I hear the rumor about Stevenson fighting Craig Baker in Haiti this summer, but I have no idea if there’s any truth to it or if it would even be a title bout if it is true. Obviously Baker isn’t a contender or worthy of a title shot.

 

STEVENSON, PBC LEAVE MUCH TO BE DESIRED

Hi Doug,

I’ve been following Adonis Stevenson championship run for the last couple of years and after careful analysis have decided to draw to a conclusion: he’s overrated. After last night’s performance all I could think of is how Sergei Kovalev would dispose of this arrogant fighter in easy fashion. I honestly don’t see it as a very competitive fight, Stevenson has two big weaknesses that Krusher would expose; Hand Speed and Defense (Chin is also a problem). His punch delivery speed is very slow, I wasn’t impressed at all with his clumsy jab, he also leaves his left hand low, much like Roy Jones used to do, leaving himself open for right hands and jabs. A good fighter like Kovalev would exploit this and eventually knock out the weak chinned Canadian. To be fair, he did do something that I didn’t expect and that was combine punches to the body and head in impressive fashion. He did show some ring IQ in there and had Bika with no answers to his combinations and ring generalship.

Still, Kovalev has many more tools and more ring fundamentals.

As for the PBC, once again they managed to put fights that featured a clear favorite win. The whole thing is starting to become monotonous and boring. If you think about it Doug, most PBC fighters never did good ratings by themselves and have been carefully matched at least for the past year. Fans aren’t stupid, we know what we’re seeing, fancy production won’t keep us hooked, we need the fights to be competitive. Gabriel Campillo was a virtual sack of potatoes. I don’t mean to disrespect Campillo, a fighter who’s clearly seen better days, but come on, is that the kind of fights you want to see on free TV? Now, next week’s fights look a little bit better. The Andy Lee-Peter Quillin fight is a fight that at least features a B-Side with an actual opportunity to win, his power should make the fight interesting. Now, I’m not so big on the Danny Garcia-Lamont Peterson fight mainly because of Lamont, who I don’t think much of. I don’t know why people think this is such a good match, I see it as a mismatch.

Finally, I want to talk about the Mayweather-Pacquiao promotion, or might I say, lack of. Isn’t this the biggest lost opportunity to make money ever? While I was watching the Stevenson fight a co-worker actually came to the break room and asked me if the Mayweather fight was today. That’s when it hit me, even if the fight is so self-promotable, you still need to at least inform the casual public about it. People don’t go to the internet religiously every Monday to read your mailbag or listen to the boxing podcasts to get that sort of information. The fight needs to be promoted and it hasn’t been, the only things we get is these awkward Mayweather ads during the PBC shows and mentions by the LA Times and SportCenter and that’s it. There’s a reason brands like Apple and Coca Cola never stop advertising, people need to have them in their mind to be reminded. There are a lot of things going on these days to remember things that don’t interest us as much. Has anybody ever said that the Super Bowl doesn’t need to be promoted? Then why do we get all that marketing everywhere? A friend of mine who works at Tecate told me that they haven’t sent them the official information and marketing and that they haven’t been able to send promotional material to bars and super markets, they usually get them two months in advance.

That’s all I got Doug, I’m leaving on a well-deserved Vacation to Eastern Europe and probably miss the PBC show this weekend. I’ll certainly be back for Lucas-Ruslan though, can’t miss that one! Have a good one! – Juan Valverde, San Diego

Enjoy your vacation (whatever that is).

Wow, it didn’t take you very long to sour on the whole PBC Revolution, Juan. Remember how excited you were about boxing’s return to network TV, oh, say about two months ago! LOL. I think it’s been hit-and-miss, so far. PBC on NBC was so-so and uneventful. PBC on SpikeTV was pretty good. PBC on CBS was a strong broadcast of two mismatches, but one impressive showcase (Beterbiev’s stoppage).

I think we’ll get two decent fights with Saturday’s PBC on NBC and I also believe the commentating team will flow a little better than they did in the inaugural broadcast. I favor Garcia by decision but Peterson (who is a lot better than you believe he is) will make the-soon-to-be-former junior welterweight champ work hard for the victory. I don’t know who wins the Lee-Quillin matchup, which why I’m looking forward to the WBO middleweight title fight more than the catch-weight 10 rounder.

The consensus among hardcore heads seems to be that Kovalev crushes Stevenson if they ever meet, and I sense that a lot of you don’t even care to see the matchup any more.

Regarding the Mayweather-Pacquiao promotion, what did you expect? The fight wasn’t finalized until way late in the game and it wasn’t a happy marriage between the Showtime/Mayweather/Haymon and HBO/Pacquiao/Arum tribes. These are strange and resentful bedfellows, Juan. HBO and Top Rank are gonna push Pacquiao’s publicity as much as they can, and Showtime/CBS and Haymon are gonna put Mayweather’s image out there as much as possible, but there isn’t going to be a whole lot of cooperation in terms of promotions between all the various organizers of this mega-event – at least not until fight week. I think if Top Rank was allowed to operate as they usually do during the build-up to a big fight, you’d see more of what you expect from an event of this magnitude, but Arum and his traditional company is not the lead promoter in this business venture. He’s got to take a back seat to his former client. Floyd had to be the boss in all this, so what you see is what you get. Maybe what you see now (commercials during PBC programs, the obligatory countdown-type shows on HBO and Showtime, and a bunch of boxing Twitter accounting counting down the days until the event) will be more than enough for Mayweather-Pacquiao to smash all existing boxing event revenue records. Maybe it won’t. We’ll find out in less than a month. Either way, I’ll still be looking forward Canelo-Kirkland in Houston and the GGG/Chocolatito doubleheader here in Inglewood.

 

C’MON SON

Doug,

You know I love you. I pray you and your family are doing well and you are entitled to your opinion which is usually well thought out but GGG over Tommy Hearns and Lomachenko vs Eric Morales. C’mon Son cut that s__t out. LOL! God bless and take care. – Blood and Guts from Philly

I know those are unpopular mythical matchup picks. For starters, I’m going against two bona-fide battle-tested legends of the sport in the Hitman and El Terrible, but I’m also favoring two relatively untested new comers who have their share of detractors (not saying you are among the GGG/Loma haters).

But hear me out. The weight classes/conditions that were presented to me by the fans who proposed those mythical matchups led me to go against the hall of famers. If memory serves me right, the guy who proposed Hearns-Golovkin said it would take place at junior middleweight with the caveat that Golovkin would be able to drop down in weight without draining himself or losing any strength/power. So basically, the dude was asking me “what if” GGG fought the 154-pound version of Hearns with the all the strength and power he wields as a full-fledged middleweight? Given Hearns well-documented struggles with rugged naturally bigger/heavier/stronger fighters with aggressive/pressure-fighting styles (see Hagler, Barkley, Roldan, Kinchen, and even journeyman Freddie “The Rock” Delgado) and given GGG’s power, ring generalship and technical precision (not to mention is stellar amateur background), I favored the active fighter.

The reader who proposed the Morales-Lomachenko matchup stipulated that the weight was featherweight. I covered much of Morales’ run at 126 pounds and found the Tijuana warlord to be slower and less powerful than he was at 122 and without the sturdiness, physical strength and stamina he had at 130 pounds (and heavier). He struggled with featherweights (such as Guty Espadas Jr. and InJin Chi) that didn’t have a fraction of Lomachenko’s talent, athleticism, ring generalship/versatility or technique. The speed/fluidity, activity, footwork, movement, educated jab, concentrated body attack, combination punching, toughness and heart that Lomachenko exhibited in 36 title bout rounds, plus his all-time great amateur credentials, led me to favor the Ukrainian southpaw (by close decision, mind you) over Morales.

 

Fischer can be emailed at [email protected]. Questions for the mailbag can also be tweeted to him @dougiefischer.

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